Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NEW  VERSE                               54!

- Holthusen) occurs frequently; and here one might suspect the
influence of Gerard Manley Hopkins ('Howe to his mother's house
private returned*; but though he is discussed, and though the term
Sprungrhythmiker is added to the apparatus of critics, there is no
evidence that he influences the facture of verse. The 'inscaped
diction' of Hopkins and his devices derived from Welsh poetry
(cynghanedd ot consonantal chime, which consists of a combination
of alliteration and internal rhyme) defy imitation. His 'sprung
rhythm' (freie Versfullung) and 'counterpointed rhythm' - that is,
the reversing of rhythm (- - in the middle of a line for -x-, etc.)

- are not new either in German or English. Hopkins was intro-
duced and interpreted by Irene Behn in her G. M. Hopkins. Vber-
tragung^ EinfuhrungundErlduterung (1948), and this was followed by
the edition of Hopkins with the English text and translations by
Ursula Clemen and Friedhelm Kemp (1954). There is no cult of
Hopkins; but his practice and theories accentuate Eliotismus.

Among poets who have earned recognition in recent years
RUDOLF HAGELSTANGE (1912- ) stands out both for brilliantly
imaged presentation of ethical ideas and as a daring innovator of
form. He began with Vene^ianisches Credo (1946), a cycle of sonnets
written in the north of Italy at the end of the war, when he was a
soldier in the service of a Fiihrer whom he loathed. The Credo of
the title is to be taken in its full verbal significance; in the horror
of the present he can still say: To me faith in a new day is in-
destructible. The frail vessel of God's truth is the young soldier-
poet overwhelmed by the dream-like beauty of Venice: maidens
barefoot and gliding like gazelles; and palaces like memories in
stone, left on the lagoons, a glorious gift, by the receding sea.
There is still the shadow of the war on Strom der Zeit (1948) and
JEr spannt sich der Zogen (1949). Meersburger Elegie (1950) has less of
the decorative impressionistic pattern of the earlier verse, but is
noticeably influenced by the line variation and free stressing ot
Rilke's DumeserElegien. 'Die ^arte Sibylk amsteimrnen Turm, whose
life is inwoven in the problematic arabesque of the poem, is Annette
von Droste-Hiilshoff; the elegy plaintively evokes her caged and
cabined life, her patrician bondage in the Castle of Meersburg on
the Lake of Constance; and Hagelstange, himself a North Germ^
(his youth was passed at Nordhausen in the Harz and afterwards
he lived in Annette's Westphalia), identifies his own musings and
memories of the lost homeland with hers. Hagelstange reaches